World Backup Day - Learn All About Data Backup

what's world backup day?

World Backup Day is an awareness campaign to alert users about utilizing a backup process to preserver their data.  It's something that is often overlooked and not practiced enough on a regular basis.

Why backup is so important

Have you heard about data backup?  Have you heard it's something you need to do but never got around to it?  Well, backing up your data is something you really need to do.  Backing up your data isn't hard and it's not very expensive considering how important our data is, yet, most of us don't backup on a regular basis.  According to Avast, thirty six percent of people surveyed don't think it's necessary to backup their data.  As we are increasingly becoming more connected and our data is becoming increasingly more portable with mobile devices, our data is at greater risk.  

Startling statistics

According to the World Backup Day site:

  • 30% of people have never backed up their data
  • 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute
  • 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses every month
  • 29% of disasters are caused by accident

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using this link.  Please see  Affiliate Disclosure for full details.

Let's Make a backup plan

Convinced you need to backup your data?  Today, it's easier than ever.  All current operating systems provide a pretty seamless process for data backup. There are basically two ways to backup your data and that's utilizing local and/or online backups. 

local backup

Local backup is a process where you backup your data to a local device usually residing in the same area where your system resides.  Local backup devices can be anything such as a DVD drive, another hard drive on the same computer, a separate computer or server but most commonly you would use an external hard drive but a true backup is a copy of your data that is stored in a separate location.  Using an external device for backup provides you a lot of flexibility and reliability.  

Amazon Affiliate Link

Local backups to an external hard drive are the most common backup method but the good news is external hard drives are cheap, fast and come with generous amounts of storage.  For local backups, an external USB drive is going to be your most cost effective solution.

Of course, if you're a road warrior who must have the ultimate flexibility and portability in local backup solutions, you may want to take a look at the Drobo Mini.  Please keep in mind this is just to give you an idea of what's available.  With Drobo, you have to buy your own hard drives to go inside of them. 

In addition, you may have heard about Network Attached Storage servers better known as NAS. These are standalone servers that  do just about anything you can imagine such as running a web or mail server, a photo stream or your digitized DVD collection.  NAS systems are rich in features and can be a good investment for centralizing your content.  However, if you have or plan on purchasing a NAS, I personally do not recommend using a NAS as your sole backup appliance.  

Some NAS systems allow for dual backup redundancy by using additional hard drives that mirror each other using RAID.  Something important to remember is that redundancy should not be mistaken for backup as previously stated, a backup is a copy of your data that is held in a separate location from your working system.  If you want a complete primer on digital storage, check out Digital Storage Basics via Cnet.

Before getting into online backup options, everyone should have at least one dedicated backup drive.  However, if you wish to forego online backup, consider getting an additional backup drive.

The important thing to remember is that your local backups are still prone to hardware failures,  fire or theft.  By having two or more drives, this allows you to rotate your backups to another physical location.  This is something that you would have to remember to do on a regular basis if you want to secure your backups.

online backup

In order to encompass a complete backup plan, it's often recommended that you implement both a local and online backup system.  Having both methods provides you all the benefits where one method alone falls short.

When choosing an online backup service, you have a lot of features and benefits to consider when choosing a service.  Features such as the number of devices and/or drives allowed, storage space and social media backup are important for consideration.  

Along with features are ease of use and what operating systems are supported.  If you are running consumer operating systems, most services include support for Mac and Windows platforms.  If you are running a server environment such as Linux or Windows server, online backup services may require a business plan which of course come at an additional cost.  Carefully consider what options and services you need.

Online backup services may offer a number of advantages over local backup alone:

  • Cloud Storage - If the service is reputable, many safeguards have been put in place to protect your data.  Your data is stored in the cloud at a secure data center.  In the cloud, your data is stored on high performance storage networks and is secured with a high level of encryption.  Local backup is typically in the same location where your system or device resides.
  • Enhanced Security - As mentioned above, your data is in a secure data center with strict physical controls.  On the storage network, data is encrypted utilizing standards such as 256 Bit AES encryption.
  • File Syncing - Ability to share files across multiple devices.  Place the file in a single folder on your computer and it's automatically synced with all locations and devices you have enabled for syncing.  
  • File Sharing - Ability to share across social media services.  This is nice because you sharing file attachments via email is cumbersome and insecure
  • Social Media Backup - Ability to backup your social media accounts.  This may be very important for heavy social users.

Important Note:  Be sure that the provider has a good reputation.  Check online reviews and when you find a service that is worthy of test driving, sign up for a free trial which most services offer.

recommended online backup service

There are quite a few online backup services that are very reputable.  I've previously used Mozy, Carbonite, and CrashPlan and you definitely should consider these services and see if they fit your needs.